Borderline Personality Disorder Test

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Taking a borderline personality disorder (BPD) test can help you better understand this condition. BPD affects a person's ability to regulate (control) their emotions. Other core symptoms include an unstable self-image, impulsivity (acting or reacting without thinking first), and unstable interpersonal relationships.

BPD is diagnosed based on the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This is the standard resource used by healthcare providers to diagnose mental health disorders. Five of the nine criteria must be met in order for BPD to be formally diagnosed by a mental health professional.

Below is a borderline personality disorder test with nine questions. If you answer "yes" to a few of these questions, consider speaking to a mental health professional.

Only a trained and qualified mental health professional can diagnose borderline personality disorder, but there are certain questions you can ask yourself if you think that you or a loved one may have this condition. 

borderline personality disorder

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Borderline Personality Disorder Test

Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions to get a better understanding of borderline personality disorder traits.

Keep in mind that not all BPD traits are outwardly expressed and it is possible to have symptoms that are directed more inward and may go unnoticed by others around you.

1. Do you have persistent fears of being abandoned?

A person with BPD may make frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned, whether this is imagined or real. They may start relationships quickly and also end them quickly so they don't risk being the one who is left.

2. Do you have a history of unstable and chaotic relationships?

Someone with BPD often shows a pattern of intense and unstable relationships. They may alternate between:

  • Idealizing: Attributing overly positive qualities to another person
  • Devaluing: Experiencing someone as completely flawed or as having extremely negative qualities

A commonly used defense mechanism in people with BPD involves splitting. This means they see people and things as either all good or all bad in a black-or-white way with no in-between. There is a psychological defense mechanism that tries to protect someone from an unmanageable feeling of conflict that might emerge In a relationship.

3. Do you often feel like you do not know who you are or what you believe?

An unstable self-image or sense of self is common with BPD. This can affect many areas of a person's life. Identity disturbance in BPD can cause a person to frequently change their beliefs, behaviors, or values.

This unstable self-image can lead to problems understanding who you are in relation to other people. This can lead to boundary issues in relationships.

4. Are you impulsive In ways that are potentially self-damaging?

Impulsivity or the tendency to do things without thinking first can cause reckless behavior. Criteria for a diagnosis of BPD include impulsivity in at least two areas that are seen as self-damaging.

Some examples of impulsivity are:

  • Reckless driving
  • Shopping sprees
  • Unprotected sex

Could It Be Bipolar Disorder?

There can be overlap between the symptoms of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. If you recognize the symptoms described here, speak to a mental health professional to help you tease out a potential diagnosis.

5. Have you intentionally hurt yourself or become suicidal?

BPD can result in recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats. It can also result in self-mutilating or non-suicidal self-injury behaviors such as:

  • Cutting
  • Biting
  • Bruising
  • Burning
  • Head-banging

When to Seek Emergency Help

If you are having suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect with a trained counselor. If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 911.

6. Are you highly reactive and prone to rapid and intense mood swings?

BPD can lead to periods of intense mood swings and instability. Moods may change quickly, often, and intensely, generally In response to interpersonal stress. This is called affective instability and may cause a person to experience extreme episodes of:

7. Do you have feelings of emptiness that you cannot shake?

BPD can create a chronic feeling of emptiness inside. This is different from an unstable self-image. It is also separate from feeling hopeless or lonely.

8. Are you prone to rage or unable to control your temper?

Problems controlling anger and experiencing intense anger can occur in BPD. Anger is often triggered by:

  • Separations
  • Disagreements
  • Rejection
  • Real or perceived abandonment

Decoding Violent Behavior

Although people with BPD may be violent, they tend to direct negative emotions inward. By contrast, antisocial personality disorder is characterized by the externalization of emotions and a greater tendency toward physical outbursts.

9. Do you get paranoid or shut down during stress?

Brief episodes of paranoid thinking can occur In stressful situations, and make a person fear others. Severe dissociative symptoms can also happen under stress. Dissociation refers to feeling like you are disconnected from your body, thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.

What to Do

If you answer “yes” to a few of the above questions, you should consider speaking with a qualified mental health professional, particularly if any of these experiences are causing you a lot of distress or interfering with your quality of life.

Keep in mind that the results of this test do not mean you have BPD. Only a mental health professional can do a full assessment and make an official diagnosis.

There are treatment options for people with BPD that can lessen symptoms and improve your quality of life. In addition, studies show that the overall rate of remission (improvement of symptoms) among people treated for BPD can be high, and symptoms can improve with time.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What triggers a person with borderline personality disorder?

    Triggers may include real or perceived abandonment, criticism, and rejection.

  • How do doctors test for BPD?

    Mental health clinicians will conduct a diagnostic interview to assess for symptoms of BPD.

  • Can you be diagnosed with BPD online?

    Yes, if you are working with a mental health clinician through an online platform.

  • Do I have BPD or am I just sensitive?

    It is possible to be sensitive and have some symptoms of BPD without fully qualifying for a diagnosis. If you believe you have some symptoms of BPD, reach out to a mental health professional.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Borderline personality disorder.

  3. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  4. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  5. Miller CE, Townsend ML, Day NJS, Grenyer BFS. Measuring the shadows: A systematic review of chronic emptiness in borderline personality disorder. PLoS One. 2020;15(7):e0233970. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0233970

  6. Biskin RS. The lifetime course of borderline personality disorder. Can J Psychiatry. 2015;60(7):303-308. doi:10.1177/070674371506000702

By Lana Bandoim
Lana Bandoim is a science writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering complex health topics.